February 07, 2018

Jerry's Ink


Last week I wrote a column about how the "MeToo" movement was turning from something good – which would put the Harvey Weinsteins, Kevin Spaceys, Bill Cosbys and, Dr. Larry Nassars into jail where they belong – into a hate-filled cult idea that would attract all the dumb angry losers who spend their lives looking for a cause that will hurt as many innocent people as it can.

The good news is when the column was re-posted on Facebook, 95 percent of the people who saw the column agreed with me. But then there was the 5 percent who are malevolent sad sacks who are so filled with hatred for both men and women that they insist that "MeToo" can be a relevant movement, even though they accept anonymous sources that can ruin people for the most minor of social or sexual encounters.

Witness the case of Chuck Close, a great artist who was a "MeToo" victim of two anonymous nude models he interviewed. Since Mr. Close is a quadriplegic in a wheelchair who can't move any of his limbs, how did he manage to sexually touch these two anonymous women? His voice. He used his voice; he said something to them.

Clearly the two women who pose nude for a living were crushed by his words. They protested and the politically correct faint-of-heart jerks at the National Gallery of Art in Washington have postponed an exhibition of Close's work. How lucky is Pablo Picasso that he's dead? I could fill this column with case after case of talented people whose careers were ruined by anonymous tattletales.

The saddest protest came from a woman who said that my describing the strong, exciting women of my agency in the 1960s, 70s and 80s wasn't true, that the women who worked at my agency in those days were victims who couldn't say what they really felt.

This was followed by a comment by a beautiful woman who worked with us in those days, Lizzie Maxey Robertshaw: "Sure glad I don't have to work or date in this crazy time. Had so much fun working at your fantastically fun outrageous agency! I definitely felt the women were in charge! Thanks for the memories Jerry." Now I can't say how women were treated at other ad agencies. But this is how they were treated at mine.

What follows is an excerpt from an old column describing our agency that says it all. It's dedicated to Lizzie Maxey Robertshaw and all the wonderful men and women who made us into a great agency, where everyone was free to be great.

In the early 1960s in advertising, sex was a forbidden subject – everybody did it and no one talked about it.

By 1970, thank the Lord, the sexual revolution was on and the advertising business went wild. The atmosphere was sexually charged at my agency. I encouraged it because nothing got people to come in early and leave late better than the prospect of a sexual adventure.

But then I decided one day that too many hours were being wasted by people lusting after each other. So I started the Agency Sex Contest, which was my feeble attempt to bring the lusting out into the open and keep it to one week at the end of the year. This was, until today, the best-kept secret in advertising. Thousands of people took part in the agency sex contest and kept it a secret.

The sex contest was everyone in the agency voting anonymously on a paper ballot for the three people they most wanted to go to bed with. They were also asked to vote on the person of the same sex they would consider going to bed with and, of course, there was the ménage a trois category, in which they selected the two other people they wanted to go to bed with.

Sometimes as many as 200 votes were cast.

The walls of the agency were covered with people who were campaigning for themselves. One very shy, young girl in accounting got into the spirit of the contest and xeroxed her breasts and hung pictures of them on the walls. Another young account executive had as her slogan: VOTE FOR AMANDA [not her real name]. LIKE BLOOMINGDALE'S, I'M OPEN AFTER 9 EVERY NIGHT.

Voting was on the up and up. One year I had our accounting firm tally up the ballots. You never saw so many accountants looking so amused and animated in your life.

First prize for the winning couple was a weekend at the Plaza Hotel, paid for by my agency. Second prize was a night at the Plaza.

Third prize was a night uninterrupted on the couch in my office. Winners of the ménage a trois got dinner for three at the Four Seasons Restaurant. Winners of the gay and lesbian part of the contest won a $100 gift certificate to the Pleasure Chest.

The results were announced at a party where as many as 300 of us would lock ourselves in a Mexican restaurant. At one party, I was concerned that the entire agency had imbibed too much cannabis and margaritas and the party was getting dangerously out of hand. One executive passed out and his head hit the table and the woman next to him shouted, "He's OK, the guacamole broke his fall."

An Oriental girl – change that, for today's rules, a Chinese girl – change that, a Chinese woman – change that, an Asian woman – then jumped on to a table and started dancing with wild abandon and accidentally kicked one of my art directors in the head. I rushed to the restaurant's manager and asked him to tell his waiters and waitresses to cut down on the drinks. He smiled at me and said, "It's too late. My waiters are all stoned and they are in the middle of the party."

Was it sophomoric? You bet.

Was it politically incorrect? You bet.

But oh, the memories.

Oh, those memories.

P.S. Those memories are still shared on Facebook today by a few hundred men and women who worked at our agency. We have our own closed site. It's called Jerry's Kids.

If you wish to comment on "Jerry's Ink" please send your message to jerry@dfjp.com.

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    February 07, 2018 | 11:36 AM


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